PPG Minutes - Dec 2022

7th December 2022


PPG - Dave Lee, Amanda Harvey (minute taker) Christine Mott, Peter Beer, Lindsay Bawden, Derek Jerome, Lin Marsh

WHMP staff – David Owen-Smith, Angie Sammut, Michelle Cozens, Michelle Harfield (PCN guest).


Fay Godfrey, Jonathan Russell, Roger Jackson, Kimberley Morgan, Sarah Coe, Shelia irigoyen, Eleanor Warner and Rachel Norris

Welcome from the Chair

Dave welcomed all, including two new attendees (Christine and Peter). It was suggested that everyone introduce themselves.

  • Dave Lee (Chair) - retired after a career working for HMRC.
  • Amanda Harvey (minute taker) - retired after a career in publishing.
  • Christine Mott – retired GP.
  • Peter Beer – previously on the Board at the John Radcliffe, Oxford.
  • Lindsay Bawden – previously a patient of Fern Hill practice. Joined PPG after needing to resolve issues over care of elderly relative. Retired after a career in biology (immune therapy).
  • Lin Marsh – composter and vocal coach.
  • David Owen-Smith – CEO, previously retired from career in international business publishing.
  • Angie Sammut – practice manager, previously was with RAF as a medic for 22 years.
  • Michelle Cozens – Management administrator.
  • Michelle Harfield – Primary Care Network Manager for the PCN (WHMP and Botley). Runs the WHMP covid/flu vaccination centre with Dr Rob Russ.

Appointment of minute taker for meeting and going forward.

Dave asked for a volunteer minute taker for this and the next meeting. Amanda Harvey volunteered and was accepted.

Discussion of how enhanced access has been working since being introduced – Dr Rob Russ.

Dr Russ was detained and unable to attend the meeting. David Owen-Smith said that Saturday access had not been successful so far, with unfilled appointments and DNAs (‘did not arrives’). Dr Russ (or one of the other doctors) will be asked to come to the next meeting to elaborate/update.

Any other business

  • Group communication method for PPG group members.

Suggestion from previous meeting (8th September) was to use either WhatsApp or email. Michelle Cozens has already asked group members if they would be willing to use WhatsApp (which would mean sharing phone numbers). She has received some responses. There was some discussion at tonight’s meeting about whether WhatsApp or email should be used. Michelle will send out the email again, asking which one people would prefer to involve all members and get a group response. She will make it clear that either system involves sharing personal information with the other members of the group. David Owen-Smith pointed out that members would need to sign up to sharing their contact information (phone numbers or email addresses).

  • Update on situation with WHMP estates from David Owen-Smith.

Current building lease runs out in approximately two years. Surgery is at capacity, despite having expanded into space in the basement previously used by the physiotherapy service (now used as consulting rooms and for the triage hub). In addition, WHMP continues to run the covid/flu vaccination centre at the RAC. Pressure on space continues to grow due to

  • Increasing patient numbers (currently by around 50 per week)
  • Growth in house building in the area, 660 houses in Kingston Bagpuize which at X 2.4 = 1584 patients this equates to a full time GP
  • There is estimated to be up to 12,000 new properties requiring GP support over the next 25 years
  • tasks being devolved from GPs to other healthcare professionals who all require consultation spaces.

WHMP staff are working to increase sharing resources across the PCN (Primary Care Network i.e., WHMP and Botley). In addition, space at the Faringdon Business Centre will be rented to house some admin functions. However, a new building will be required as the existing building cannot be expanded. Plans for a new building will have to be signed off by the Integrated Care Board (ICB) for West Berks, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire (BOB)

Options being considered are buying the Faringdon Business Centre, building from scratch on land currently unused opposite Waitrose/Aldi (a care home may also be built on this site).

David Owen-Smith and the ICB are requesting a dispensary at the Kingston Bagpuize development, and this could operate as a satellite of WHMP (with two consulting rooms). Dave asked if more satellites were possible to try to address space issues, but David Owen-Smith said that the funding for such satellites is complicated. Dave suggested applying to charities (such as the Andrew Carnegie foundation) for funding.

  • Continuing patient unhappiness with Engage Consult, and with current method for allocating only same-day appointments.

At the last meeting, the group asked why the appointment allocation system was brought in. A response was received from Dr Kerrin Masterman (attached as Appendix A). David Owen-Smith said that more patients can get appointments now WHMP runs this system. Anna Baxter from Engage Consult has offered to talk to the PPG. It was decided that a sub-committee (tonight’s attendees) would talk to her on Teams in the second/third week in January. Michelle Cozens will contact all group members to ask for their questions/points ahead of time.

  • Attendance at meetings

Could all members please notify Michelle Cozens in good time if they are unable to attend meetings.

  • Acronyms – as so many members of the group have not previously been involved in the NHS, the acronyms used are very confusing. Michelle Harfield/Michelle Cozens will compile a list of the common ones for group members.

Next PPG meeting date

6.30pm 8th February 2023, WHMP

Appendix A

Following the last PPG Meeting, Amanda Harvey on behalf of the PPG members kindly submitted the following question:

Dear David

You asked me to frame the question we were discussing tonight, so you can pass it on to the GP Partners.

We’ve discussed the Engage Consult system, and capacity issues at length at the last two meetings. This question is about an historical change in the basic principle of how appointments are set, not about the mechanism for doing that.

WHMP used to run a ‘book ahead’ system ie the patient contacted the surgery and an appointment was made for the future (or the same day if necessary/possible). Now, the system is to be allocated a phone/in-person appointment on the day the patient contacts the surgery. This seems to be part of a national trend (reported in the press, shared by friends and relatives). It is less convenient for some patients, (including some members of the PPG) and it’s not clear why it is better for WHMP. So members of the PPG would like to know why there has been this change.

Please let me know if you want me to elaborate any further.

Best wishes, Amanda Harvey.

DO-S referred the question to the Partners, as the change had been made before he started. The responses are as below:

This was not a change made for COVID but one several years before then.  The reasons were presented the PPG at the time and unanimously accepted. Dr Rob Russ

Dr. Kerrin Masterman, said: As Rob says, this pre-dated covid by a few years and proved incredibly effective over covid. Advantages include:

  • Not having to cancel multiple patients and rearrange when someone calls in sick (which has happened with increased frequency during covid)
  • Being able to make rapid adjustments to appointment types if someone needs to work from home at short notice (again, more frequent since covid)
  • Reduce DNA rates - what can happen with advance booking is that people feel better by the time of the appointment but forget to cancel, or do turn up to the appointment just to tell you they feel better and 'didn't want to waste the appointment'
  • Helps match supply and demand - we get real time data on demand for appointments and can match this with how we provide clinical cover across the week
  • When short staffed due to things like sickness/annual leave we can reduce the number of available appointments that day
  • We can keep patient numbers to a safe limit within BMA recommendations to avoid staff burnout and ensure good quality service delivery
  • There is no 'waiting time' for an appointment so people can be assessed promptly when they feel unwell.